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Newly elected President Sahle-Work Zewde addresses the House of Peoples' Representatives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia October 25, 2018. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)
Newly elected President Sahle-Work Zewde addresses the House of Peoples' Representatives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia October 25, 2018. (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri)


The Week in Women: Ethiopia’s first woman president, Meghan’s first royal speech and a ‘Golden Girls’ cereal craze

By Brigit Katz on October 26, 2018

Sure, coming in first isn’t everything, but let’s face it: nobody’s writing articles about the dog that popped the second-highest number of balloons in under 30 seconds. So this week’s newsletter is all about firsts. Here’s a quick recap of things:

Ethiopia’s parliament appointed the country’s first female president. Sahle-Work Zewde, previously the U.N. under-secretary general and a special representative of the secretary general to the African Union, was sworn into the position after her predecessor, Mulatu Teshome Wirtu, unexpectedly resigned on Wednesday. In Ethiopia, the prime minister holds all the executive power and the role of the president is mainly symbolic. But Sahle-Work’s appointment was nevertheless celebrated across the country, and she evidently has a clear vision of the causes she would like to promote in her new position. “When there is no peace in country, mothers will be frustrated,” she said. “Therefore, we need to work on peace for the sake of our mothers.”

Meghan Markle gave her first official speech as a member of the royal family in Suva, Fiji, where she announced two grants that will help support women’s access to education in rural parts of the country. “Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive,” she said. “And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital … Providing them with access to education is the key to economic and social development.” Markle was an outspoken feminist before her marriage to Prince Harry, and has continued to emphasize women’s rights and equality in her humanitarian work as part of the British royal family. Rest assured, this has been the focus of the news coverage of her current royal tour.

Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman justice to sit on the Supreme Court, said in a public letter released that she has been diagnosed with early-stage dementia, “probably Alzheimer’s disease.” O’Connor, 88, was appointed to the bench of the nation’s top court in 1981 by then-President Ronald Reagan. She retired in 2006, and is now withdrawing from public life due to her illness. “While the final chapter of my life with dementia may be trying, nothing has diminished my gratitude and deep appreciation for the countless blessings in my life,” she wrote in her letter. “I hope that I have inspired young people about civic engagement and helped pave the pathway for women who may have faced obstacles pursuing their careers.”

If you weren’t first through the door to get your hands on a bright blue Golden Girls cereal, you may have missed your chance. The limited-edition treat, released by the brand Funko, flew off the shelves at select Targets where it was being sold, leaving disgruntled fans wondering how they could get their fix of Dorothy, Rose, Sophia and Blanche. Those with a truly ardent love for the show — and some cash to burn — can find the cereal on eBay, where boxes are selling for as much as $100. That’s a steep price to pay for missing the blue cereal boat, but as Blanche once said, “Better late than pregnant.”

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Previously in The Week in Women

Love blossoms on ‘The Bachelor’ and other secrets and revelations that surprised us

Melania feels bullied, Taylor talks politics and a son has an unwitting #HimToo moment

Nobel Prize winners, the Kavanaugh Supreme Court saga and gender disparity in Japan